quotations about the ocean
Never trust the calm sea when she shows her false alluring smile.
LUCRETIUS, De Rerum Natura
She loves the serene brutality of the ocean, loves the electric power she felt with each breath of wet, briny air.
HOLLY BLACK, Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale
It is beautiful, it is endless, it is full and yet seems empty. It hurts us.
JACKSON PEARCE, Fathomless
The solemn, wonderful, majestic ocean! It exalts, but only to crush me under a sense of its grandeur--boundless, everlasting, pitiless of my insignificance. Wherein does it differ from me? In immensity of breadth and depth. What does it give me? A sense of infinity, and of the abyss which divides me from it.
MADAME SWETCHINE, "Thoughts", The Writings of Madame Swetchine
More wonderful than the lore of old men and the lore of books is the secret lore of the ocean. Blue, green, grey, white, or black; smooth, ruffled, or mountainous; that ocean is not silent. All my days I have watched it and listened to it, and I know it well. At first it told to me only the plain little tales of calm beaches and near ports, but with the years it grew more friendly and spoke of other things; of things more strange and more distant in space and time.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, "The White Ship"
There's nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you've been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent.
DAVE BARRY, attributed, Morning Mercies, June 30, 2015
Ocean, n. A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man -- who has no gills.
AMBROSE BIERCE, The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary
Surely oak and threefold brass surrounded his heart, who first trusted a frail vessel to the merciless ocean.
HORACE, attributed, Day's Collacon
Coastal people never really know what the ocean symbolizes to landlocked inland people--what a great distant dream it is, present but unseen in the deepest level of subconsciousness, and when they arrive at the ocean and the conscious images are compared with the subconscious dream there is a sense of defeat at having come so far to be stopped by a mystery that can never be fathomed. The source of it all.
ROBERT M. PIRSIG, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The ocean, whose tides respond like women's menses, to the pull of the moon, the ocean which corresponds to the amniotic fluid in which human life begins, the ocean on whose surface vessels (personified as female) can ride but in whose depth sailors meet their death and monsters conceal themselves ... it is unstable and threatening as the earth is not; it spawns new life daily, yet swallows up lives; it is changeable like the moon, unregulated, yet indestructible and eternal.
ADRIENNE RICH, Of Woman Born
My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW, "The Secret of the Sea"
Crime and the sea have always mixed, pirates ever since there have been ships, law ends with the land, man is nothing out there, a few bubbles as he goes down under the mindless waves.
JOHN UPDIKE, Rabbit at Rest
But to the lover of nature--and who has the courage to avow himself aught else?--the sea-shore can never be monotonous. The swirl and sweep of ever-shifting waters, the flying mist of foam breaking away into a gray and ghostly distance down the beach, the eternal drone of ocean, mingling itself with one's talk by day and with the light dance-music in the parlors by night--all these are active sources of a passive pleasure. And to lie at length upon the tawny sand, watching, through half-closed eyes, the heaving waves, that mount against a dark blue sky wherein great silvery masses of cloud float idly on, whiter than the sunlit sails that fade and grow and fade along the horizon, while some fair damsel sits close by, reading ancient ballads of a simple metre, or older legends of love and romance--tell me, my eater of the fashionable lotus, is not this a diversion well worth your having?
GEORGE ARNOLD, "Why Thomas Was Discharged", Stories by American Authors
Old Ocean's gray and melancholy waste
Are but the solemn decorations all
Of the great tomb of man.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT, Thanatopsis
The ocean is powerful, but not invincible. It is rich, but not inexhaustible. For humans to thrive in the coming centuries, we will have to be smarter about how we approach the 70 percent of our planet the ocean covers.
GARY E. KNELL, "Securing a Bold, Blue, and Prosperous Future for Our Ocean", National Geographic, January 27, 2017
I collect my belongings I no longer need
and make my way to the ocean to burn and drown and start anew
and it is quite wonderful, setting fire to my chains
CHARLOTTE ERIKSSON, attributed, goodreads
There is an energy to the ocean in particular, an element of danger that requires a giving over of self, that makes swimming in heavy water a kind of holy communion. I see swimming as a way to get to know a place with an intimacy that I otherwise wouldn't have. To swim in the ocean is to immerse myself in wildness, to feel the way the water rises and falls like breath.
BONNIE TSUI, "In Hawaii, a Swimmer's Communion With the Wild Ocean", New York Times, February 2, 2017
The use of sea and air is common to all; neither can a title to the ocean belong to any people or private persons, forasmuch as neither nature nor public use and custom permit any possession therof.
ELIZABETH I, Letters
And oh! if the wave could speak in any other language than that of its own harsh thunder, how many tales of agony and suffering might it unfold!
PETER WHITTLE, Marina; or, An historical and descriptive account of Southport, Lytham, and Blackpool
We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic
Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic
VAN MORRISON, Into the Mystic